Over the last couple of years, I have noticed an increased trend of single women who have never partnered and are nearing retirement, or who have no prospect of partnering and are in late accumulation phase. This may not have been a conscious decision on the ladies part, but rather a consequence of the changing times. With women more active in the workforce, and career satisfaction at stake, the goal of marriage and children seems to have taken a back seat to the long hours, and further education that many women now prioritise.
The single ladies who come to see me have two overriding goals, long term financial security, and maintenance of lifestyle. Remembering that these ladies are in perpetual SINK (Single Income, No Kids) phase, the problem that they face is how to have your cake and eat it too?
The first thing to determine is what is financial security to each individual client? Financial security for myself is to have a buffer in the bank, no lifestyle debt, a paid down mortgage, a healthy superannuation, and an investment account on the side. For another individual, it may be being able to pay the rent, the bills, and maintain cash flow. Identifying what financial security means helps establish goals for the client to strive for, while framing each individual goal in the context of the big picture.
Once each stepping stone goal is established towards financial security, it is important that there be a reward. This could be as simple as a dinner out with friends, or as encouraging as a card in the mail. Singles don't have a partner to celebrate the small milestones, so it is important to provide positive reinforcement, as well as that pat on the back.
In my experience, financial security cannot be seen to come at the cost of lifestyle, with this client demographic. It may be a challenge for planners as they need to be able to articulate how the goals work lifestyle needs, and that they don't take away from the client's lifestyle wants. Going over needs vs. wants, and getting the client to own the process of prioritisation is key to the success of the strategy.
So, next time a single lady comes through the door, remember that they are not just looking for a strategy, they are looking for a sounding board and a lifestyle plan. Taking on a client in this cohort will mean that you may need to reassure them that they are making the right decisions, however, the advantage is that you won't need to help them negotiate with another person like you do with the marrieds.
Find Erin* at Achieveit Financial Planning, or call for an appointment on 07 4638 5011.
*Authorised Representative of Securitor Financial Group Ltd ABN 48 009 189 495 AFSL 240687
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